Despite a proposed cut in its millage rate, the Liberty County Board of Education will have to hold three public hearings on its tax levy as a result of new tax digest values.
The school system set the 2021 millage rate at 15.902, and is proposing a millage rate of 15.25. But because the rate is considered to be higher than the rollback rate, the millage that would keep property taxes the same, the system has to conduct three public hearings. Public hearings will be held October 11 at 9 a.m., October 11 at 6 p.m. and October 25 at 8:30 p.m., prior to the board’s scheduled work session.
“We are rolling our millage back. My hat’s off to you and to the department heads for trying to operate as frugally as we can in order to roll the millage back,” Superintendent Dr. Reginald Perry told board members Tuesday morning.
State law requires one of the meetings to be held in the evening.
Liberty County School System chief financial officer Stephanie Clark said the hearings are scheduled so that the school board’s millage rate is approved and sent to the county before November. 1.
“We are trying to accommodate the county so they can adopt their millage rate in a timely manner,” she told board members Tuesday morning.
Board member Carol Guyett said she tells residents the school system has never raised the millage rate to raise revenue, but there was a period of time when millage rates were higher in order for the school system to remain in compliance with certain regulations.
“I’m very proud we haven’t depended on the backs of the citizens,” she said.
“It always appears there is a tax increase because of the digest,” said board member James Johns Sr. “What we fail to do is we don’t articulate well enough that the board of education has had a continuous rollback. I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do all over again about the tax digest.”
The school system’s current budget is approximately $153 million.
School board members also were introduced to new transportation director Tracee Hill at Tuesday’s meeting.